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Here's a new way to be safer when you hike or bike Charlotte's greenway

How to stay safe on Charlotte’s greenways

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Nathan King said it’s smart to follow basic safety tips on Charlotte’s greenway system. A Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation app coming out in June will help officials find you in a crisis.
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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Nathan King said it’s smart to follow basic safety tips on Charlotte’s greenway system. A Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation app coming out in June will help officials find you in a crisis.

If you call 911 from a Charlotte greenway, emergency responders have plenty of equipment they can use to reach you — bikes, utility carts, motorcycles equipped for trail work.

The problem is figuring out where you are, police and park officials said Wednesday.

“Some people don’t know. Some people actually give us the wrong location, and we end up searching the whole greenway,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Nathan King said.

Charlotte has more than 40 miles of paved greenways, so that can take quite a while, King said.

But starting in June, a Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation app with powerful mapping capabilities will be available for download. If you have the app and you need help on the greenway, first responders can pinpoint your location instead of relying on your description or retracing your trip from the parking lot.

Officers will know where they’re going to the nearest tenth of a mile, King said, and they can use neighborhood cut-throughs and gates to reach people quickly.

“I’ve been out here for lost children, I’ve been out here many years ago for an assault, and it took us 30, 45 minutes to find that person,” King said.

“We had a clothing description. If we had a specific location, I’m thinking particularly in the lost child (situation) out here, we would have been within a tenth of a mile at initial arrival. So you’re talking about a huge time savings.”

The app will help with maintenance, too, Park and Recreation Director Lee Jones said. Users can report downed trees and slippery boardwalks, and parks employees won’t have to search to find the problem.

You can even use the app to send in a photo of graffiti, police said, and the parks department will be able to identify its location to come and remove it.

The app will be available for Apple and Android devices in June.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128, @janewester
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